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Date: 04 Aug 2010

First American Gets A Successful Heart Transplant At Apollo Hospitals, Chennai !

Doctors in the US had given Ronald Lemmer, 65, only a year to live and had scoffed at his idea of going to India for a heart transplant. They told him he would return in a coffin. Today, after a successful heart transplant at Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, Lemmer is smiling. So is India ’s medical fraternity.

Lemmer was transplanted with the heart of a 36-year-old accident victim in an eight-hour surgery by Dr Paul Ramesh at Apollo Hospitals Chennai . In the process, two records were also created. The patient was not only the first U.S. citizen to undergo a heart transplant in India, but he was also the oldest person to undergo a heart transplant in the country.

"I decided to come to India for the transplant after some research on the internet,"" said Lemmer. His wife Shelly, visibly emotional, said, "" My husband is a walking miracle. He looks at least 15 years younger. Earlier his heart was functioning at 20% of its capacity. Now it has gone up to 60%.""

After coming to Chennai in May this year, it was an excruciating wait of three months for the couple before Lemmer found a suitable donor. ""He was very lucky as the donor ’s heart did not match with any Indians on the waiting list and hence we selected him,"" said Dr Prathap C Reddy, chairman of Apollo Hospitals.

It may be recalled that Dr Prathap C Reddy started Apollo Hospitals in 1983 after a patient of his died because he couldn ’t reach US in time for treatment. Now with the first patient from the US getting a heart transplant in India, we have come full circle.

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